“Where I come from, if you can’t lift half a cow then you’re considered a pussy,” says the huge muscular man covered in tattoos sitting opposite me.
The guy is a butcher from an outer suburb of Brisbane and the equally huge and tattooed man beside him sips his chilli margarita and nods in agreement.
“How much does half a cow weigh?” I ask.
The butcher thinks this over for a moment. “120kg or so.”
I’m in Newtown with a photographer friend of mine and we’ve stopped off in Guzman Y Gomez to fuel up on burritos to soak up the alcohol – which is where we bump into the Brisbane butcher, his friend and their black-clad and equally tattooed girlfriends, one of whom told me earlier that she’s planning on getting another tattoo in Sydney as a souvenir. I just hope it’s not of the Harbour Bridge or Opera House.
My friend and I have already finished our Coronas and burritos but the Brisbanites urge us to stick around with them for another round. Since they’re not talking about real estate and mortgages, which in Sydney makes for a refreshing change, we agree and buy some margaritas – and are pleasantly surprised.
Now, I realise reviewing a fast food Mexican joint is not in keeping with Bar Zine, which normally focuses on upmarket cocktail bars, but I’m making an exception for two reasons:
1) I’ve been addicted to their food for years as it’s the closest I’ve come to the great Mexican food I used to scoff in LA. Forget about those horrible faux tacos other places sell with minced meat and hard corn shells – here they grill strips of meat and serve them in soft corn tortillas (although lately I’ve switched my affection to the burritos).
2) My margarita is good. Really. Despite my love of Guzman Y Gomez’s food I was expecting a ghastly post mix drink that came from a machine but, even though it only cost $8, this tastes like the real deal (a good margarita needs to be made from fresh lime juice, qood quality tequila and either triple sec, Grand Marnier or Cointreau). Quite frankly, I’ve spent far more than this for far worse margaritas many, many times.
Aside from Coronas and traditional margaritas, Guzman also sells chilli margaritas which I don’t try, although the Brisbanites insist they’re good. And after all, who am I to argue with someone who can lift half a cow?
Guzman Y Gomez, 175 King Street, Newtown, although there are branches in Bondi Junction, Kings Cross, Australia Square and the MLC Centre. For more information see the Guzman Y Gomez website.
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Guzman Y Gomez?